Edinburgh World Heritage - Living in the New Town

Living in the New Town

New Town houses were designed for fashionable entertaining at home.

Over the winter the grand reception rooms on the first floor would be the scene of parties, dinners and ‘routs’, large social gatherings with a mixture of food, dancing and card playing. According to her daughter, Lady Grant of Rothiemurchus’s social calendar in 1817 involved “Five or Six dinners, two small evening parties, and one large evening one, a regular rout’ which ‘paid my mother’s debts in the visiting line each Winter.”

This sort of lifestyle was only possible of course with a large number of servants, and a small glimpse of their lives can be seen in a rule book for the servants of No.52 Great King Street.

The housemaid for example rose at 6am every day, except on washing days when they got up at 4am, and did not finish work until after 11pm. Her tasks include washing floors, cleaning the door brasses, tidying the bedrooms, delivering water to the household, and to lock the door at the end of the day.

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